The most influential woman in my life died today. In 1977, she taught me that I could grow up to run as fast as and fight as hard as any boy—and in a dress. That I could have power and softness at the same time. Yes, it's true she was an actress playing a role. And it was a movie. But every religion has its myths, from the beginning of time they have influenced people. And mine was Star Wars. Yes, some of you have laughed to learn I claim it as my first theology, Yoda as my first guru, and even have a bathroom with its theme. And I may have told you that I aspired to be Princess Leia since I was 6. She was my hero. And that was in part due to the art of Carrie Fisher. And Carrie passed from her body today. And I hope the Force is with her, that its light shines upon her. Wherever she now is.
That question launched the idea for my first book, Void if detached: Seeking modern spirituality though my father's old sermons. Below is an excerpt from the first chapter:
For me, being a Preacher’s Kid (PK) is often a surreal experience. When someone finds out I am a PK, they usually envision me growing up in a stark, fire-and-brimstone household, and thus solemnly offer me their condolences, combined with looks of subtle pity. Or—having seen Footloose one too many times—they ask me if I have red cowboy boots. Or they smile mysteriously and say, “Now that explains it.”
I try to ward off most of these responses by quickly explaining that my father was not your typical preacher. That our house was not filled with spooky religious paintings. That, yes, my dad loved to dance, and drank vodka tonics.
Oh, and that, most importantly, I am not a bastard. You see, during our elementary school years, my sister Amy and I lived in a neighbor-hood that felt half Jewish/half Catholic, with us being members of a strange group called Protestant. My Catholic classmates pulled me aside quietly and whispered that I really shouldn’t have been born because priests aren’t supposed to have wives or kids. Dad further confused this issue by reading Hebrew in my first grade show-and-tell. Now my Jewish classmates were stumped. However, because my father would patiently answer their questions, he became known affectionately as The Rev by our friends of all faiths...